Rwanda’s Finance Minister, James Musoni, yesterday, officiated at the launch of the Gender Responsive Budget Programme, a process he said, was an important one with the potential to bring great benefits to Rwanda, not only in addressing gender inequalities but at improving public financial management in general.
The exciting new program aims to establish a gender perspective in the country’s budgeting processes was launched at Hotel Serena Hotel.
The programme will ensure that gender is incorporated into the national planning and budgeting processes at every level of government so that the advantages of adopting the gender perspective are fully realised.
The initiative is believed to help further harness the country’s achievements in advancing gender matters, especially the empowerment of women.
Apart from reiterating government’s commitment to gender equality, Musoni pointed out that the country is already on track in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target of reducing the gender gap in literacy and the number of female seats in decision making organs.
Rwanda’s parliament is the world’s first where women hold a majority - 56 percent, including the Speaker.
“An important aspect of this program will be to correct the misconceptions and sensitise staff of local and central government involved in planning and budgeting to the benefits of mainstreaming gender,” Musoni said.
He said this will be an important step in not only highlighting the importance of gender issues, but shifting government focus towards designing policies with the most economic, efficient, effective and equitable impact on all groups of society.
Among others, Jean d’Arc Mujawamariya, Minister of Gender and Family Promotion and, Dr. Josephine Odera, Regional Programme Director for Central Africa, UNIFEM, extolled the programme’s launch.
The United Nations Development Fund for Women - UNIFEM – is the women’s fund at the UN that provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programmes and strategies to foster women’s empowerment and gender equality.
“We are now telling the world that gender is no longer a cross cutting issue but a component of EDPRS, a key to success,” Mujawamariya said, adding that her ministry was ready to help in screening gender responsiveness in all institutions.
Rwanda’s Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) is a document that sets out the country’s objectives, priorities and major policies for the years 2008-2012.
An upbeat Odera said she was so pleased to see that Rwanda had taken up the venture.
“In the two-year programme, we look forward to the strengthening of instructions and an effective system of monitoring and evaluation,” she said, adding that they foresaw better conditions and planning among all stakeholders given the commitment shown by government.
“We are more than confident we will be seeing a fully gender responsive budget.”